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Rookie Baseball Rules
Revised January 2019



Purpose of Rookie League:

  • The purpose of Rookie League is to be instructional for the kids and provide the greatest opportunity for learning the game of baseball in a safe and enjoyable environment
  • We stress practice time over game play and even during games, continue with instruction over competition
    • Coaches from all teams should use every opportunity to explain, direct, correct, and support all players regardless of team (e.g. a first base coach for one team should help the 1st baseman with positioning and fielding mechanics)
    • Game play will be against other Littleton teams ONLY (other towns run their Rookie programs differently, with different rules, and often stress winning above all else)
  • We strive to hold 2-3 practices for every 1 game scheduled – we will always prioritize a practice over a game
  • The goal is to gradually introduce live pitching by kids throughout the course of the season, but will start with either machine pitching or coach pitching


General Game Rules:

  • No forfeits, if a team does not have 6 players consider borrowing a player from the other team.
  • Coaches or approved individuals will serve as base coaches.  A player should not be used as a base coach.
  • There are no umpires so coaches on the field make all balls/strikes/outs calls. Note: a close play will generally go to the defensive to reward correct game play.
  • A new inning is not permitted to start after 7:30 pm.   The coaches have the discretion to call a game prior to this time due to darkness or other safety concerns. 
  • No player will be allowed to sit on the bench for more than one inning (consecutively). The coach must rotate the players into the game every inning.
  • There will be ten players allowed on the field defensively.  While the pitching machine is in use, one player will be allowed to be to the side of the pitching machine no closer to the plate than the pitching screen, and one extra outfielder will be permitted. The pitcher shall not move in front of the pitching machine/screen prior to the batter making contact with the ball.
  • All outfielders should remain in the outfield grass and should focus on field fly balls, balls hit through the infield, and backing up bases
  • Balks will not be called.
  • Bunting is not allowed (although bunting will be taught during practice)
  • The infield fly rule will NOT be used.


Hitting/ Base-running:

  • All players will be eligible to bat regardless of whether they played in the field in the previous inning.  
  • No leading off or stealing bases is permitted.  Players may leave their bases once the batter has made contact with the ball.  No advancing on passed balls.
  • There is no restriction on the number of bases a player is allowed to take on a batted ball (within reason – proper baserunning should be reinforced).
  • In the event of an overthrow which goes out of the field of play, the base runners are entitled to one additional base. The coaches should agree prior to the start of the game as to the out of play lines. During the game, the base coaches are the only ones who can determine if the ball is out of play and additional bases should be awarded.
  • On an overthrow which remains in the field of play, the runners may advance at their own risk, but we do not want coaches encouraging a lot of running around to provoke a throw.
  • Play will stop when a player in the infield, receiving a throw from the outfield or fielding a ball and having no play, is in possession of the ball and makes no attempt to throw a runner out. Runners more than half way to a base may take the base; otherwise must go back to previous base.
  • When pitching machine is used or a coach is pitching, the inning ends after all players have batted, a maximum of six runs has been scored, or 3 defensive outs have been recorded – whichever comes first. As the sixth run crosses home plate, the inning ends.  
  • During the innings pitched by players, , a maximum of three runs may be scored by each team per inning.  
  • When the pitching machine is in use, any batted ball coming into contact with the machine or protective screen, as a result of the hit or deflection from the player positioned at the mound, is considered a ground rule single (i.e., play is dead, batter automatically gets first base, all runners advance one base).  
  • When the pitching machine is in use or a coach is pitching, each batter will receive a maximum of eight ‘good’ pitches.  If the batter fouls off the 8th pitch the at-bat will continue until either 1) the ball is hit in to fair territory, or 2) the batter gets an out which would include a batter swinging and missing.  Hitting coach will give a countdown of when the batter has two and one strike left.  Note: Walks are only given during player pitched innings.
  • Hit batters take first base during player pitching only.
  • Pinch runners are not allowed except in the case of an injury.  
  • No Head First slides will be allowed. A runner cannot intentionally collide with a fielder trying to make the play at the base. The home plate coach will have the authority to call the runner out if, in the coach’s opinion there was an intentional collision.



  • During the first half of the season, pitching will be done with either a pitching machine or coach pitch.  During the second half of the season, player pitching will be introduced during the last two innings of the games
    • Innings 1 – 4 all pitching will be done with a pitching machine
    • Innings 5 & 6 players will pitch
  • The coach or pitching machine must pitch/be set up from the rubber on the pitcher′s mound.
  • Players who will pitch during games must have demonstrated the appropriate control of the ball and ability to throw strikes during practice as judged by the coaching staff – at no point should a player who has not pitched in practice be brought in to pitch during a game
  • No pitcher may pitch more than four innings in a calendar week (Monday through Sunday), (including reschedules and makeup games). If pitcher delivers one pitch in an inning, that player is charged with one inning pitched. Pitcher must have at least one full day of rest if he/she has pitched two innings during the previous game (e.g., can’t pitch on Thursday if pitched 2 innings on Wednesday).  
  •  Free substitutions are allowed with the exception of the pitcher. Once a pitcher is removed, he/she may play at any other position, but may not pitch again in that game.  
  • Intentional walks are not allowed.  
  • If any pitcher hits two batters at any time during a game, that pitcher will be removed from the mound, replaced, and will not be allowed to pitch again during that game. 
  • The normal position for player pitchers is from the rubber on the pitcher’s mound, located 42' from home plate. The pitching machine will be placed approximately 46′ from home plate during the innings it is used. 
  • If a team does not have enough players able/eligible to pitch, a coach will be brought in to pitch the remainder of the game.


General Safety:

  • Only one on-deck batter permitted at a time and they should remain behind the backstop and away from other players in order to avoid potential injury from swinging bats.
  • Catcher must wear catcher's helmet, mask, long model chest protector, shin guards and protective cup with athletic supporter at all times (males) for all practices and games. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Pitching screens should be used at all times during Rookie League games when the pitching machine is in effect.
  • Only Coaches should run and feed pitching machines.
  • All batters and baserunners are required to wear helmets; optional for pitchers during pitching machine use.